The Life of David
Lesson 6: “Family Matters”
First Samuel 19
One of the axioms of scripture is that you can tell something about a man by looking at his children. This is one of the qualifications for elders in the New Testament. And the history of it with like Eli and Samuel – in both cases their ministry was not allowed to go on to the next generation. And the chapter before us presents another one of those situations. Saul has disobeyed God, refused to come to grips with it and confess it, and God has withdrawn His spirit from him and anointed David to take his place. But Saul’s reaction, rather than being convicted about his sin, is to fight back at God with his own strength by attacking David. And this is typical of the flesh – attacking the symptoms rather than the root problem, but that kind of attack only leads to frustration, as we saw in chapter 18. So by the time we come to chapter 19 the hostilities are out in the open. And interestingly enough, the focal point in this chapter is two of Saul’s children, each of whom had a close relationship with David. As we look at chapter 19 we will see, first, the intercession of Jonathon in verses 1 through 7. Then, in verses 8 through 17 we have the intervention of Michal and third, the interception by Samuel in verses 18 through 24.
So let’s begin by looking at his intercession with his friend Jonathon in verses 1 through 7
Now Saul spoke to Jonathon his son and to all his servants that they should kill David. But Jonathon, Saul’s son delighted greatly in David. So Jonathon told David, saying, “My father Saul seeks to kill you. therefore, please be on your guard until morning, and stay in a secret place and hide. (3) And will go out and stand beside my father in the field where you are, and I will speak with my father about you, Then what I observe, I will tell you.
What would make a son go behind his father’s back and in effect take the side of the enemy? Well, there is a little clue back in chapter 14. In this passage Jonathon has come across a “garrison” of Philistine soldiers and decided to attack them. And the attitude with which he operated is in verse 6. – and very telling of his spiritual condition:
(6) Then Jonathon said to the young man who bore his armor, “come let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the Lord will work for us. For nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many of by few.
You see, Jonathon had a deep spiritual understanding of how the Lord works in situations like this. And he was willing to act on it. And that was the total opposite of his father at this point. Very likely, the reason Jonathon had made a covenant of friendship with David back in chapter 18 (besides God’s provision of that friendship for David) was that he saw a “kindred spirit” in David.) And it is very likely that even though Jonathon was very close to his father Jonathon was very close to his father, as we will see in chapter 20, he was even more zealous for the name of God. But not only did Jonathon “intercede with his friend, but in verses 4 and 5 he also interceded with his father.
Now Jonathon spoke well of David to Saul his father, and said to him, “Let not the king sin against his servant, against David, because he has not sinned against you, and because his works have been very good toward you.(5) For he took his life in his hands and killed the Philistine, and the Lord brought about a salvation for all Israel. You saw it and rejoiced. Why then will you sin and against innocent blood, to kill David without a cause?
And the intercession was successful. In verse 6 we see Saul’s repentance.
So Saul heeded the voice of Jonathon, and Saul swore, “As the Lord lives, he shall not be killed.
Saul’s answer here is typical of wicked men who know how to use pious language. And it teaches us to “have no confidence in the flesh,” as Paul expressed it in Philippians 3:3. And so as a result of that “repentance” we see the return of David to the palace in verse 7.
Then Jonathon called David, and Jonathon brought David to Saul, and he was in his presence as in times past.
Everything looked good at first – “he was in his presence as in times past,” but not for long.
The first section of the chapter has to do with “the intercession of Jonathon” But in verses 8 through 17 we see the intervention of Michal, Saul’s daughter (who is now married to David.) First, we see how short-lived the reunion between David and Saul was. In verses 8 through 11a we see the repeated attack.
And there was war again; And David went out and fought with the Philistines, and struck them with a mighty blow, and they fled from him. ((9) Now the distressing spirit from the Lord came upon Saul again as he sat in his house with his spear in his hand. And David was playing music with his hand (11) Saul also sent messengers to David’s house to watch him and to kill him in the morning.”
This shows the senselessness of Satan directed activity. Probably many of the senseless killings and unprovoked attacks that we hear about are from this same source
It would have been easy in the battle of verse 8 for David to “sit this one out,” having been treated so badly by Saul after previous battles. But he was a faithful servant to the king, and he goes to battle just as before – and wins just as before. And apparently, when all was said and done, it was too much for Saul to stand – so “the distressing spirit” came over him again in verse 9 But notice what David did in verse 9b – tried to soothe Saul with his music! Most heroes would have left with the victory. But David, like Jesus did would someday do, did whatever was before him to do – with no complaint. And it is in that context that Saul’s next attack takes place. And verse 11 shows that the senselessness continued – even after David had escaped, Saul had him followed to his home!
So in verse 11b we have the report to David of what Saul is doing.
Saul also sent messengers to David’s house to watch hum and to kill him in the morning. And Michal, David’s wife , told him, saying, “If you do not save your life tonight you will be killed.”
Here is the second of Saul’s children to take the side of his enemy. But a clue to her loyalty is in the phrase Michal, David’s wife. Maybe this was the loving relationship she had been longing for all her life and had never found in the home of Saul. So all of that sets the stage for the rescue of David described in verses 12 through 17 The escape it self is in verse 12:
So Michal let David down through a window. And he went and fled and escaped.
This is reminiscent of other rescues recorded in scripture. Years later the disciples let the Apostle Paul down through a window to escape the Jews Sometimes God allows his choicest servants to go through difficult and humiliating circumstances. But it is those difficult circumstances that produce lasting results. What do you do in such a situation? Well, David went to prayer! (How easy it is to forget that)
Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire where there is no standing; I have come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me.I am weary from my crying, my throat is dry; My eyes fail while I wait for my God. Those who hate me without a cause are more than the the hairs of my head. And the psalm goes on in that vein for several more verses.
So what we have here is David’s very thinking about this situation. Now because of the escape there had to be an elaborate cover-up. And that is what we find in verses 13 through 16.
And Michal took an image and laid it in the bed, and put a cover of goat’s hair for his head, and covered it with clothes (14) So when Saul sent messengers back to take David she said, “he is sick” (15) then Saul sent the messengers back to see David saying, bring him up to me in the bed, that I may kill him. (16) And when the messengers had come in, there was the image in the bed, with a cover of goat’s hair for his head.
Later we are going to see that David and Michal had a “problem” marriage – and this is one of the reasons: they were not on the same wave length spiritually. David would have never been so deceptive. But of course, the lie didn’t work. Saul was so determined that he told the soldiers to bring David, bed and all, to the palace, and when they went to get him they discovered the ruse – so in verse 17 we see the excuse that Michal had to give.
Then Saul said to Michal, “why have you deceived me like this, and sent my enemy away, so that he has escaped?” And Michal answered Saul, “He said to me, “let me go, why should I kill you?
Here is Michal, lying verbally after she had lied with her actions back in verses 13 and 14. But the question comes up, “what else could she have done? Although any of us might have done the same thing, if she had told the truth God would have intervened. And there are at least two examples of such intervention in the Old Testament: the first is Genesis 19 when God sent angels to Sodom to lead Lot out of it before it was destroyed. The homosexuals of the city came and demanded that Lot send the strangers (who were actually angels in disguise). Lot could have lied his way out of it, but he didn’t although he did offer them his two daughters) And God struck the men at the door with blindness, giving the angels time to get Lot and his family out of the city.
Another example is in Genesis 46,47. Joseph had finally gotten his family back together. And his father and his brothers had an audience with Pharaoh. Joseph told them to lie and say that they were ranchers, not shepherds. But surprisingly enough, they told the truth about their profession! And Pharaoh gave them the very land Joseph wanted them to lie for in the first place!
Now we have seen The intercession of Jonathon in verses 1 through 7 and the intervention of Michal in verses 8 through 17. So in the last section of the chapter, verses 18 through 24 we find The interception by Samuel. And First we see The informing of Samuel (David’s report to Samuel in verse 18)
So David fled and escaped, and went to Samuel at Ramah, and told him all that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and stayed at Naioth
Here is another good example of what to when we are in a time of need. Back in verse 11 he went to the Lord in prayer when Saul sent men to watch his house. (see Psalm 59) And here he goes to another believer for spiritual counsel. And in addition, this was a safety factor – Saul might still have had some fear or respect for Samuel left. This shows that it is not unscriptural to be practical. If there has to be a choice, we should choose the “spiritual” option, but if we can be both practical and spiritual at the same time there is nothing wrong with it.
Then in verses 19 through 24 there is the inability of Saul to do anything about this development.
Now it was told Saul, saying “take note, David is at Naioth in Ramah! (20) Then Saulsent messengers to take David. And they saw the group of prophets prophesying and Samuel standing as leader over them, the spirit of God came upon the messengers, and when Saul was told, he sent other messengers, again the third time and they prophesied also. (22) Then he also went to Ramah, and came to the great well which is at Sechu. So he asked, and said, where are Samuel and David? “And someone said indeed, they are at Naioth (24)And he also stripped off his clothes in like manner and prophesied before Samuel in like manner and lay down naked all that day and all that night.
It is fascinating to see the strange methods that God sometimes uses in completing His purposes. The verses speak for themselves: Saul sends two different groups of servants to capture David, and they both fall into prophesying. So finally, he goes himself, and he, too begins to prophesy! And the practical side of all this is that it gave David time to escape. (see 20:1) And even this is a picture of the Lord Jesus in a sense.
In John chapter 7 the chief priests and Pharisees sent soldiers to out to bring Jesus for questioning, but they “fell under His spell.” And couldn’t bring Him back, saying “never man spoke like this man.” And in John 18, when Judas came with the troops to “capture” Jesus the same kind of thing happened:
(4) Jesus, therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, whom are you seeking? And they drew back and fell to the ground.”
You see, there are times when the holiness and the glory and the power of God just cannot be reckoned with! Aren’t you glad that we serve such a holy and powerful God?